The IAAI and CFITrainer.Net present these podcasts with a focus on issues relating to fire investigation. With expertise from around the world, the International Association of Arson Investigators produces these podcasts to bring more information and electronic media to fire investigators looking for training, education and general information about fire investigation. Topics include recent technologies, issues in the news, training opportunities, changes in laws and standards and any other topic that might be of interest to a fire investigator or industry professional affected by fire. Information is presented using a combination of original stories and interviews with scientists, leaders in fire investigation from the fire service and the law enforcement community.
California Conference of Arson Investigators
Welcome to this edition of the IAAI’s CFITrainer.Net podcast.
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The podcast and CFITrainer.Net are funded by DHS FEMA Fire Prevention and Safety Grants through the AFG, or Assistance to Firefighter Grant Program.
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This month, we’re grateful for the support of UL. Having working smoke alarms is critical to public safety. New technology is enabling alarms to be even more effective to better distinguish between smoke from cooking and that from a potentially life-threatening fire. Learn more about this new technology and how it’s being incorporated into new editions of safety standards by visiting smokealarms.UL.org.
Last month, we began an on-location visit to a fire investigation training event for over 200 students conducted by the California Chapter of IAAI. In part one of our visit, we took you to the scene the day before the burn to learn about the plan, set-up, the layout, and what the instructors expected to see after the burn.
In this podcast episode, we are back for the second part of the training event, the second day I should say, of the preparation for the training event, the actual burn and post-fire. Our interviews include a number of experts who were present at the training for different reasons. Dr. Vyto Babrauskas, a pioneer in fire safety science, and the President of Fire Science and Technology, Inc. discusses how scientists will be using the data from the training burns. Jim Brown of Forensic Fire Investigations talks about the use of drones in fire investigation. Mike O’Brien, former president of CCAI, explains some of the instrumentation used during the burn, and FARO Technologies explains their 3D laser technology and how it’s being used in the burn and structure fires. And we check in with Scott Stephens, Executive Director of IAAI, for his thoughts from the location.
We’ll also look at some of the intricacies of the burn characteristics in the context of weather, evaluation of potential sources of ignition within the three-acre test burn area, the purpose of the backburns conducted by the Cal Fire, and the indicators left behind that serve as teaching points for the students at the burn.
Let’s go back to our visit recorded live in California.
ROD AMMON: So, we’re back here at the location for the burn. It’s 7:15 as always with this group. Things started a half hour earlier or 45 minutes earlier than planned, and the noise you hear in the background is the drone warming up for this morning to take some shots in advance of the burn so that there can be comparison later on today.
Back again with Dr. Babrauskas. Thank you again. I heard a lot about what you’re doing, and I’ve been – my company has been working, doing things in fire investigation now for, oh, I think 20-some years, and everybody refers to all of your documentation and everything you’ve ever done, but I don’t think we’ve ever met.
DR. VYTO BABRAUSKAS: Well, it’s a pleasure meeting you.
ROD AMMON: Same here. So, tell me about what it is that you’re looking to do while you’re here at the training.
DR. VYTO BABRAUSKAS: So, the big picture is the following. The NWCG – their first edition of their guide was in 1978, and at that time, they established eight indicators, and then they had another edition in ‘06, and they established 14 indicators, and then they went back in the 2016, went back to 11. The issue is that, as a scientist, any theory that I encounter I need to see has it been validated because if it hasn’t been validated, then there’s some very serious questions. Should you be using it?
So, with regards to the indicators, the first validation paper was author – the lead author – there were many authors, but the lead author was a guy named Albert Simeoni, and two years ago he did a very nice piece of work. But, surprisingly, that was the first paper where somebody said, okay, NWCG has these indicators. Let us take some fires where we know what happened because they’re fires that we set. They’re training fires or experimental fires. And then let’s go see what the indicators register, and how does that compare to the teaching that we get from NWCG?
And so, they published that paper, and it was a landmark because it was the first one ever. Well, it’s a very good thing that they did that, but obviously one is not exactly a large number. So, we would like to see if we can do this as a second exercise through – with the same objectives, see if we can validate or to what extent we can validate which NWCG indicators. And I feel if that exercise is successful, that will be valuable to the profession, and it will be then an important and useful benchmark publication.
ROD AMMON: Thank you very much. So, I’m here with Jim Brown.
JIM BROWN: My company is Forensic Fire Investigations in Southern California. I’ve been in the fire service for 47 years.
ROD AMMON: So, tell me about this interest or focus. It seems like you’ve got quite an expertise in the drone world.
JIM BROWN: It’s really – the technology has been fabulous for us, and it literally puts a photographic platform in any location that you want. For fire investigation, fire scene reconstruction-like, it’s so important for us to have the ability to get several different views at higher levels, even at a 10-foot level. I latched onto this technology pretty early on, and I’ve watched it grow to the point where we now have great optics in the air. We’ve got great vehicles that get us in the air, long flight times, and it should be in every toolbox for every fire investigator.
ROD AMMON: Well, it’s about 8:30 a.m. The safety briefing has ended. Greg Liddicoat and Terry Taylor are out working another field. Actually, this plot was one we didn’t go to yesterday, but it’s actually up against some of the other buildings that are in the area, and they’re going to burn that out really as mostly, from what I understand, as a safety measure just to create a break in front of the buildings that they want to protect. So, they’re going to do that in advance. There’s three engines I think coming in from Cal Fire that are going to be monitoring things here today. So, who am I with?
MIKE O’BRIEN: I’m Mike O’Brien. I’m ex-president of CCAI and part of the group, worked here for – since 2001.
ROD AMMON: So, what are you doing now?
MIKE O’BRIEN: We’re going to put a thermocouple tree out in the middle of the wildland burn just to see if we can pick up temperatures from ground to about 8 foot up. We’re set up in medium brush, and depending on what the wind does, we’ll see how well the thermocouples can pick up and register heat.
ROD AMMON: And that’s not really typical to put thermocouples out in these, is it?
MIKE O’BRIEN: No. They’ve done that up in Montana, the fire management agency up there, but they were doing it in forests and that. I’ve never seen tests done in light brush.
ROD AMMON: Great. More and more data.
MIKE O’BRIEN: More and more data. We print it out and just turn out the graphs.
ROD AMMON: Thought I’d talk to you guys. I’ve got Greg and Terry with me as well as Dr. Babrauskas, and tell me about what’s going on, some changes happened in the weather, and what’s new?
TERRY TAYLOR: So basically, yesterday’s weather, which was overcast and fog to start the day, it’s gone. We have basically a low-pressure system kind of sitting over us here, beautiful clear skies. Sun is out. So that means that the high humidity on the fuels should evaporate within the next couple of hours, and we should be able to have good running fires. The wind prediction was what, Greg?
GREG LIDDICOAT: I can’t remember. I think they said 9 to something out of the northwest. I’m looking at what we call spot weather report where we can get an actual prediction just for this particular spot.
ROD AMMON: And I saw them setting up a weather station, so that’s local here.
GREG LIDDICOAT: Yeah, we’re going to do our own weather station here, but the weather service also can give us a prediction just for this general area right here.
ROD AMMON: So, for other chapters doing a burn, that’s something good for them to know.
GREG LIDDICOAT: They need to get together with their local federal partner or state partner and ask for a spot weather report for that day of their burn.
ROD AMMON: Good to know.
TERRY TAYLOR: And oftentimes your fire dispatch center can do that, your regional center that involves the multiple agencies. They have a direct line to the weather service, and they just get coordinates and say this area this is what it’s going to be. So, then we’re going to put some objects out here to show some burn patterns. I put some cans. I put some rocks. We’re going to put some fireworks out here so that during the course of the fire some things will go pop and bang a little bit, and then we’ll figure out here what we’re going to use to start this. We’re going to start it – all of our plots this time are what we call roadside starts, so somewhere within the roadside, which is where many of the fires occur, is where the ignition point will be.
ROD AMMON: And the fireworks, while they’re fun, they’re there for a reason. What’s that?
TERRY TAYLOR: Well, basically they’re going to leave evidence of their being there, and so what we’ve consistently taught in Nevada and what we should be teaching everywhere is just because you find something doesn’t mean that’s it, and so we want you to keep going when you come to a fire like this. So, this thing will be about 3 acres if it burns wall to wall, and so there will be objects out there, and the vegetation itself that will show fire movement as well as objects like this that would be a source of ignition. And so, if the patterns don’t bring you back to, let’s say, the firework you discover in the middle, then guess what? It’s out of the picture and keep working.
ROD AMMON: Dr. Babrauskas just walked over. They’re putting up the weathervane. It had sort of an angle to it, and with his direction, the weather station is now directly up and down, make sure the readings are right on the mark.
So, as I said, I was going to go looking for the folks from FARO Technologies and find out a little bit how they’re helping out with the California Association of Arson Investigators burns that are going on here. Which one of you guys want to tell me about what’s going on?
DAN TIRAPELLI: Okay, so what we’re looking to do here – my name is Dan Tirapelli with FARO Technologies. What we’re going to do is we’re – FARO sells 3D laser scanners that also do – not only create point clouds and take laser-image data, it also does photographs with this. It does it 360 degrees horizontally and 320 degrees vertically. So, what we’re going to do is we’re going to do the documentation prior to the burns occurring for the buildings, and then we’re going to do post so we can show the difference in that and show burn patterns, that type of information that’s associated with it.
ROD AMMON: Interesting. Have you – can you talk about one situation where you worked with an investigation?
M: Actually, he’d be able to do that.
M: Yeah. There’s been a couple of them where I worked on a case that was – we originally believed that it was an arson case. It was a structure fire that looked like it was probably as a result of insurance claim fraud, and as we started looking at it, in all the initial views of this where – that it was a solid arson case where there was a lot of fuel that had been – natural fuel that had been ignited from just fall leaves and that kind of stuff that had never been really collected. But as we started looking at things from the 3D perspective, we started seeing things that didn’t make any sense, and we actually traced the fire back to the neighbor’s yard where he had been collecting leaves and then putting them in a fire pit, and then he left that unattended.
And then that fire and the embers that came out of that leaped through and went along the structure, so we actually saw radiant heat damage to the siding of that structure, some smoke and radiant damage to some additional structures that were close by. And then where it got in between the two fences there was railroad ties with a lot of tar and pitch on those that added to the intensity of the fire.
We were also able to look at a neighbor’s house that was not involved, but the rear siding, the vinyl siding actually melted on that, and then there’s char patterns on the children’s swing set that was actually also never directly affected by fire but strictly by heat. So, we were able to do heat determinations for how – basically how much the fire raged and then also looking at char patterns for being able to understand how the fire progressed, and this went from being an arson case into being a negligent burn case.
ROD AMMON: Very interesting. Sounds like a great use of technology. So, it sounds like you were doing something that was a combination of the structure and the outside. Are you doing both object and scene-based VR, or how does that work? Does it get stitched? How does your technology work?
M: So, what it captures is everything is captured in the infrared spectrum, so where color lighting and color photographs and things that you would only capture in the ability of color, there’s a lot of stuff that you can’t see. There was another case that we had worked on where a homeowner had actually had a faulty outlet, and it had sparked and smoked up in the room. Rather than fix it, he just painted over it, and when new renters came in, there was a fire that was also in there, but it affected the wall on the opposite side that was tied into the same wiring for that socket.
When we started scanning in there, we were actually able to see the smoke damage and charring through the paint through the infrared spectrum, so he did a crappy job of painting and the infrared actually exposed what was going on there. So essentially what’s happening is the scanner is capturing everything in 3D, and then we’re capturing the images, and we can do it in high-dynamic range as well. So anywhere where you’ve got extreme light and extreme dark, we can actually allow the data to view in the software exactly the same way you would see it with the human eye.
Then you take all that data, once it’s been put together from all these different scan perspectives, you can walk around in the scene using VR as you mentioned, using Oculus Rift or some of the other different manufacturers that are out there of VR. So you can go back into the scene at any point in time, and the beautiful thing where this comes in as far as arson investigators is the number-one cause for cancer in a lot of firefighters is being exposed to the carcinogens with the amount of time that you have to spend on the scene.
With our scanner, you can actually remotely control it, so your amount of time spent in the scene is incredibly small. You can verify everything on your computer prior to leaving because it directly goes into your computer, processes everything so you see your entire project before you break down and leave the scene to make sure you have all of your evidence while minimizing the time in. And then the most important thing, of course, is the analysis work.
So once we’ve got everything put together and we’ve got all of our evidence collected, we can go into what’s called FARO Zone 3D, and we are the only company that has all of the NFPA symbols in a single software entity where you can bring all of your data directly in. It does not have to be converted into any other type of data format where you don’t have any issues or loss of conversion. And another really important thing with all this data is it’s actually digitally encrypted or digitally hashed inside of the scanner, so where a chain of custody comes into play and being able to testify to the accuracy and validity of the data, it can absolutely be traced back to the source date and time.
ROD AMMON: Well, the smell of fire has begun, but it’s not from one of the fires that’s going to be set for the classes. It’s actually some backburns that are being done. I’m going to see if we can talk to the chief a little bit about how they’re being used.
So, my first question for now was just what you’re doing setting the smaller fires down there along the tree line.
CHIEF ERIC SHALHOUB: Okay, so with the predominant wind the way that it works out here, we’re basically trying to create what we call a catcher’s mitt, so we put a black line in that area, which creates a buffer zone so that if we do get head fire going towards all those eucalyptus trees and things that we don’t want to burn, it should hit the black and go out. That’s the tactical use behind it.
ROD AMMON: Thank you.
CHIEF ERIC SHALHOUB: Sure.
ROD AMMON: And your name again is?
CHIEF ERIC SHALHOUB: Eric Shalhoub, battalion chief for Cal Fire.
ROD AMMON: Thanks, chief.
CHIEF ERIC SHALHOUB: You bet.
ROD AMMON: We’ll be back. So, the day is wearing on here, but I just walked up on Scott Stephens who is the executive director of the IAAI, and I thought I’d check in with Scott. He’s been pretty happy about what he’s seeing. How are you doing, Scott?
SCOTT STEPHENS: Fantastic. It’s been a wonderful experience. I want to thank the California chapter for inviting us out here today. There was a lot that went into this with regard to planning and execution, pulled it off, very safety-oriented event, three major fires that were well controlled, and a lot of data points were captured.
ROD AMMON: It’s amazing that we get to stand here. I mean – and we’re looking out across the field and there’s flames licking 15, 20, 25 feet up into the air. It’s like…
SCOTT STEPHENS: It’s bizarre. I mean it’s – you can feel the heat. It’s just – it’s unbelievable.
ROD AMMON: And it’s about 75 yards away from us, and it’s mostly a backfire that’s being used by Cal Fire to stop any more progress of the burn, and everything so far has been going like clockwork.
SCOTT STEPHENS: That’s correct. I mean they’re just doing a phenomenal job out here, Cal Fire and then the California chapter as well, and we’ve got representatives from other chapters around the country as well that are here helping out, facilitating.
ROD AMMON: Thanks a lot, Scott.
SCOTT STEPHENS: Thank you, Rod.
ROD AMMON: It’s Terry Taylor and Greg Liddicoat, and I’m just a little too excited, too. But I know they’re real excited because I’m looking across the field where it looks like – I don’t know – after warfare. It was a pretty intense fire. So, tell me, what did you see, Greg?
GREG LIDDICOAT: I saw some awesome fire here. It just was amazing to see the burn, and it burned the way we thought it was going to burn and looking out at what’s out there right now I’m seeing indicators, macro-indicators, which is exactly what we were hoping for. So, I can’t wait to actually walk out there and see what our micro-indicators look like, our littlest of the rocks and the bottles and stuff like that.
ROD AMMON: I think it’s going to be a little hard to wait – get you to wait until it’s cool.
GREG LIDDICOAT: Exactly. I’m going to be walking out there shortly. It’s almost cool enough now to get out there and walk through the middle of it.
ROD AMMON: We’ve got a heck of a breeze. I know the wind was reporting. It sounded pretty low to me, but I think people can probably hear it. I know we’re 10 to 12, 14 miles an hour.
GREG LIDDICOAT: Yes. I believe we’re probably pushing about – at least 10 right now, and during the middle of the fire there, we were – same thing. It’s been a pretty consistent breeze through here, which was nice. It pushed this fire just exactly the way we wanted it to go.
ROD AMMON: So, Terry, how about you? What are you thinking?
TERRY TAYLOR: Well, I’m looking at – we put a lot of different items out here that would record the directional burning. We’ve got a really outstanding forceful burning forward movement. We’ve got great angles of burning. We’ve got backburning. We’ve got freeze. We’ve got leaf drop. We’ve got just about everything you could possibly get out of the indicators we’re going to be teaching the students, and so this – we put a lot of energy into setting this up, and this looks like it couldn’t really get any better.
ROD AMMON: You know, I’ve gone to a lot of these training pieces – or a lot of these training seminars, and this one has – it’s one of the ones where there’s more instrumentation, more variables, more players. I mean we’ve got three, four drones up in the air, thermocouples out there, multiple cameras that are on the ground. It’s pretty intense.
TERRY TAYLOR: Well, it’s very intense, and we’re basically trying to push the science out so we can record the behavior of the fire. As Dr. Babrauskas has pointed out, there’s a lack of scientific study of the burn patterns that we’ve been teaching, and so we’re hoping that we’re able to validate it.
ROD AMMON: I think Dr. Babrauskas is over there. He’s pretty excited. He’s got the camera in his hand, and I would imagine a towel isn’t far by – far behind.
TERRY TAYLOR: It should be good. He should be pretty happy.
ROD AMMON: We all got pretty heated up during that. All right, guys, we’ll be back.
All right, I’m walking up on Mr. Tom Fee, past president of IAAI, and I think he’s starting to really think the day was a success.
TOM FEE: Yes. I think so far these wildland instructors did a great job. They’ve got their plots set out for the students to come in, so there’s going to be some great training out here. That’s what we’re doing it all for.
ROD AMMON: Everybody’s pretty psyched. I heard you say some numbers. You’ve already got over 200 people coming in.
TOM FEE: Yeah, we’re probably pushing 250 right now.
ROD AMMON: Leave it to you, Tom. Thank you.
TOM FEE: Thank you, appreciate you being here with us, Rod.
ROD AMMON: Glad to be here.
So, I’m walking back to Dr. Babrauskas again, and, well, the burn that is mostly has been set up for him has been completed, and I’m just wondering what you’re thinking.
DR. VYTO BABRAUSKAS: I’m thinking that we’re going to have a good outcome, that there’s going to be a class on Tuesday that is given this field to investigate, and I think we have enough of a good understanding of what happened, and it was – had enough regularity to it that we’re going to be able to have a good outcome of the training class.
ROD AMMON: It’s beautiful. I know a lot of people are excited about what you’re going to write related to this, and I sit here as I’m talking to people and we’re watching flames that out on the distance are probably 15, 20 feet high. It’s amazing. It’s like a war zone.
DR. VYTO BABRAUSKAS: Well, the research objective that’s associated with this is to take a look at the National Wildland Fire Coordinating Group indicators, NWCG indicators and to see how well we can validate them in a realistic test scenario, and I think that’s going to work well.
ROD AMMON: I’m glad to hear that, and again we’re all grateful for your work. Thank you very much, doctor.
DR. VYTO BABRAUSKAS: Thank you.
ROD AMMON: We thank all of the experts and instructors who gave us their time during the burn event to help take you inside what is needed for a wildfire training of this magnitude and how it impacts both research and professional development. We appreciate the invitation from the California Conference of Arson Investigators to join them for the event.
During the last podcast, we promised a part three. We promised to share some footage from before, during, and after the from San Luis Obispo. We edited two pieces. There is a link on this podcast page. Let us know what you think. By the way, we read all of your feedback and appreciate the time each of you takes to check in with us.
Thanks again, and please spread the word to your peers about the podcast. We have some great things coming this year at CFITrainer.net, and we’re grateful again to have received a grant from the FEMA Fire Prevention and Safety grants program. Thanks for joining us today on this podcast. Stay safe. We’ll see you next time on CFITrainer.net. For the IAAI and CFITrainer.net, I’m Rod Ammon.
This program provides a primer on accreditation, certification, and certificates for fire investigation training.
A fire occurred on the night of Feb. 20, 2003, in The Station nightclub at 211 Cowesett Avenue, West Warwick, Rhode Island.
Arc Mapping, or Arc Fault Circuit Analysis, uses the electrical system to help reconstruct a scene, providing investigators with a means of determining the area of a fire’s origin.
This module introduces basic electrical concepts, including: terminology, atomic theory and electricity, Ohm’s Law, Joule’s Law, AC and DC power.
A fire occurred on the evening of June 18, 2007, in the Sofa Super Store in Charleston, SC that resulted in the deaths of nine fire fighters.
This module looks at the many ways fire investigators enter and grow in the profession through academia, the fire service, law enforcement, insurance, and engineering.
This module will present a description of the IAAI organization.
This module takes a closer look at four of the most commonly-reported accidental fire causes according to "NFPA Fact Sheet.
This program brings three highly experienced fire investigators and an attorney with experience as a prosecutor and civil litigator together for a round table discussion.
One of the legal proceedings that may require the fire investigator to testify is a deposition. Depositions are often related to civil proceedings, but more and more jurisdictions are using them in criminal cases.
Deposing attorneys employ a variety of tactics to learn about the expert witness giving testimony, to try to unsettle that witness to see how he/she handles such pressure, and to probe for weaknesses to exploit.
The program discusses the basics of digital photography for fire investigators as well as software and editing procedures for digital images intended as evidence.
This self-paced program is an introduction to discovery in civil proceedings such as fire loss claims and product defect lawsuits.
This self-paced program is an introduction to discovery in criminal proceedings.
This module covers the foundation of DNA evidence: defining, recognizing, collecting, and testing.
This program provides a practical overview of how to perform the baseline documentation tasks that occur at every scene.
This module will discuss the techniques and strategies for conducting a proper science-based fire scene investigation and effectively presenting an investigator’s findings in court as an expert witness.
This program explains the basic principles of how electric and hybrid vehicles are designed and work, including major systems and typical components.
This program presents critical safety information for how to interact with electric and hybrid vehicles.
This module presents critical electrical safety practices that every fire investigator should implement at every scene, every time.
In this program, we will look at emerging technologies that fire investigators are integrating into their daily investigative work with great success.
This self-paced program examines the fire investigator's ethical duties beyond the fire scene.
As social media has emerged as a powerful force in interpersonal communications, fire investigators are being confronted with new questions...
Should you work for a private lab as a consultant if you are on an Arson Task Force? How about accepting discounts from the local hardware store as a “thanks” for a job well done on a fire they had last year?
This module takes investigators into the forensic laboratory and shows them what happens to the different types of fire scene evidence that are typically submitted for testing.
This module teaches the foundational knowledge of explosion dynamics, which is a necessary precursor to investigating an explosion scene.
This module addresses the foundations of fire chemistry and places it within the context of fire scene investigations.
The program is designed to introduce a new Palm/Pocket PC application called CFI Calculator to users and provide examples of how it can be used by fire investigators in the field.
This module examines these concepts to help all professionals tasked with determining fire origin and cause better understand fire flow dynamics so they can apply that knowledge to both to fire investigation and to fire attack.
This module provides a road map for fire officers to integrate and navigate their fire investigation duty with all their other responsibilities and describes where to obtain specific training in fire investigation.
The evaluation of hazards and the assessment of the relative risks associated with the investigation of fires and explosions are critical factors in the management of any investigation.
This module will describe the most commonly encountered fire protection systems.
This module presents best practices in preparing for and conducting the informational interview with witnesses in the fire investigation case.
This module provides instruction on the fundamentals of residential building construction with an eye toward how building construction affects fire development.
This module provides introductory information on the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard – 29 CFR 1910.120.
This module teaches first responders, including fire, police and EMS, how to make critical observations.
The program examines the importance of assessing the impact of ventilation on a fire.
This program discusses how to access insurance information, understand insurance documents, ask key questions of witnesses, and apply the information learned.
This module offers a basic introduction about how some selected major appliances operate.
This program introduces the fire investigator to the issues related to the collection, handling and use of evidence related to a fire investigation.
This program takes you inside the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) archives of some of the most interesting and instructive test burns and fire model simulations they have ever conducted.
The program provides foundational background on the scope of the youth-set fire problem, the importance of rigorous fire investigation in addressing this problem, and the role of key agencies in the response to a youth-set fire.
This module provides a thorough understanding of the ways an investigation changes when a fire-related death occurs.
This self-paced program will help you understand what to expect at a fire where an LODD has occurred, what your role is, how to interact with others, and how to handle special circumstances at the scene.
This program will introduce the fire investigator to the basic methodologies use to investigate vehicle fires.
This module presents the role natural gas can play in fire ignition, fuel load, and spread; the elements of investigating a fire in a residence where natural gas is present; and the potential role the gas utility or the municipality can play an investigation.
This self-paced program covers fundamental legal aspects of investigating youth-set fires, including the juvenile justice system, legalities of interviews and interrogations, arson statutes, search and seizure, and confidentiality.
This program explains what lithium-ion batteries are, how they are constructed, where they are used, safety concerns, and how they can cause fires and explosions.
This program discusses the latest developments in expert testimony under the Daubert standard, including the MagneTek case recently decided in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals.
This module focuses on how to manage investigations that have “complicating” factors.
This module uses the Motive, Means, and Opportunity case study to demonstrate how responsibility is determined in an arson case.
This program covers the general anatomy of a motor vehicle and a description of typical components of the engine, electrical, ignition, and fuel systems.
This self-paced program is the second part of a two-part basic introduction to motor vehicle systems. This program describes the function and major components of the transmission, exhaust, brake, and accessory systems.
This module educates the investigator about NFPA 1033’s importance, its requirements, and how those requirements impact the fire investigator’s professional development.
This module reviews the major changes included in the documents including the use of color photos in NFPA 921 and additional material that supports the expanded required knowledge list in NFPA 1033 Section 1.3.7.
The program illustrates for the fire investigator, how non-traditional fire scene evidence can be helpful during an investigation.
This module introduces the postflashover topic, describes ventilation-controlled fire flow, illustrates how the damage left by a postflashover can be significantly different than if that fire was extinguished preflashover.
This module demonstrates the investigative potential of information stored on electronic devices.
This module explains the relationship between NFPA 1033 and NFPA 921
This module lays the groundwork for understanding marine fires by covering four basic concepts that the investigator must understand before investigating a marine fire.
In this module, you will learn more about how cancer develops, what occupational exposure risks to carcinogens exist at fire scenes, and how to better protect yourself against those exposures.
The use of the process of elimination in the determination of a fire cause is a topic that has generated significant discussion and controversy in the fire investigation profession.
This module teaches the basics of the electrical power generation, distribution, and transmission system.
This module presents the basics of natural gas and its uses and system components in a residence.
The basics of the scientific method are deceptively simple: observe, hypothesize, test, and conclude.
This module explains the principles of search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment, as contained in the amendment and according to subsequent case law, and applies them to typical fire scene scenarios.
This module addresses the foundations of thermometry, including the definition of temperature, the scales used to measure temperature and much more.
This program presents the results of flame experiments conducted with a candle.
This self-paced program explains to non-investigators the role of the fire investigator, what the fire investigator does, how the fire investigator is trained, what qualifications the fire investigator must meet.
This module will untangle the meanings of "undetermined," straighten out how to use the term correctly, talk about how not to use it, and describe how to properly report fires where "undetermined" is the cause or classification.
This module will advise fire investigators on how to approach the fact-finding procedures necessary and validate a hypothesis.
This module provides an overview on how structures can become vacant and eventually abandoned.
This self-paced program provides a basic framework for structuring the management of fire cases and fire investigators.
This module illustrates how wildland fires spread, explains how to interpret burn patterns unique to these types of fires.
This module presents the key elements of the initial origin and cause report and methods of clearly presenting findings in a professional manner.